Many Pagans celebrate Samhain as the Celtic New Year. This Pagan festival is probably the best known because of the activities now associated with it.
This is the time that Winter begins - the dark times are ahead. Our ancestors had to prepare to survive the Winter. Would there be enough food to get through the harsh times facing them? Think back to how difficult it must have been - to survive the Winter on what you could store and stash away. No cozy central heating, double glazing and 24 hour supermarkets. The elderly, young and sick were all at great risk during these dark times. There was also the question of how many animals needed to be slaughtered and salted down for food? How many livestock could they feed through the Winter?
It is for the reasons above that Samhain is associated with Death. A festival when dead ancestors and friends are remembered. Many may have died during the dark and cold periods of years past. It is now that we think of them.
At Samhain many would set an extra place at table for their ancestors. The food would be left out for any dead relatives that might visit that night.
This is the time when the veil between this world and the Otherworld is the thinnest. A time when we try to contact the spirits of our ancestors using various methods of Divination.